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Russ Ellis
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Joined: 20 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

Posts: 2,608

PostPosted: Sun 27 Jun, 2010 8:29 pm    Post subject: Blade Show impressions         Reply with quote

Okay, okay I know it's been weeks since the show and anyone that had an ounce of work eithic would have already long since posted their impressions. So I've been a little busy...

Let's see what I can remember swordwise from the show...

Wandered by the CAS Hanwei booth. They finally go rid of that horrible claustrophobia inducing tent. They had the Tinkerline production stuff there. I didn't really notice anything particularly new in the Western Medieval line. It may well be that I missed some things and if so I apologize. I usually say hi to Mr. Pierce but he wasn't there. There may well have been some new katana about too, but honestly I've lost most of what interest I had left in katana so I didn't really look them over. If someone else spent more time on it please by all means feel free to fill in in any gaps I've left.

My next sword stop was at Mr. Cashen's Matherton forge table. Sadly, again this year there wasn't a sword in sight on his table. He did however have a fantastic quillon dagger (I've tried finding a picture to show you online but sadly could not next year I had better take my camera). I spent a very enjoyable hour or so talking to Mr. Cashen about one of his favorite subjects, metallurgy. Notable quote: If I could have just one thing in the world it would be (not world peace, not a cure for cancer) a mass spectrometer! Happy That man is serious about metal!

Next up was the table of the ever gracious Mr. and Mrs. Evans. They have put up with me for something like 5 or 6 years now and I can't thank them enough. I am happy to report that they are safely ensconced back in Hawaii and that not only is the shop slowly getting back to what it needs to be but that they have electricity in their house as well! Ahh the ever glamorous life of a swordsmith. Mr. Evans of course DID have a sword (two in fact) on his table as well as some other neato things including something I've never seen before a Vince Evans folder. He said that he hasn't made any in about ten years. he also wonder of wonders actually had a piece on his table that had not yet been sold, a Scottish dirk. I have to admit that I was mightily tempted. I've only got a single Vince Evans sword. I just don't have much interest in things Scottish however, and so in the end I managed to stifle the temptation in hopes of commissioning another Vince Evans piece which we discussed briefly. Here's some pictures from Mr. Evans picture trail site of the pieces from the show in case you are interested:

If the Viking sword would have been available I would have snapped it up, sadly someone else had the same idea. That sword also happened to win best sword in show. Also as the basket hilt attests the rumor that Mr. Evans has given up on making them is vastly exaggerated. As always Mr. and Mrs. Evans were some of the nicest most down to earth people you can ever meet. His craftsmanship is of course top notch as always in my opinion still one of the top three swordsmiths making Western swords in the world I'll leave it to you to figure out the other two and in which order they rank. Wink

Of course I also stopped by the Albion Booth. Mike and Harlan were their usual friendly and fun selves. Albion's wares are terrific their customer service is top notch and Mike and Harlan are just a hoot. We talked shop for quite a while as Mike surrepitiously made sure that I always had one of their swords in my hand. I'm sure that was just incidental. Happy I will have to say that the boys did get a trifle distracted whenever an attractive blonde/brunette/redhead walked past but I think we can forgive them for that especially when I noticed the exact same behavior from several other notables who will remain nameless who stopped by the booth while I was there. I got to handle a couple of their swords that I had never seen before including a Cherusker and Knecht. As usual they were superb. People can carp about their price points if they like, but at the end of the day they offer some items in the production line up that you flat out can not get anywhere else.

A huge disappointment for me personally was the absence of Rick Barrett. He apparently had to cancel his trip at the last moment and I have still not been able to catch up with him to find out why. I hope all is well in his world.

I did see the Sabersmith booth but did not stop, by that time it was late in the day and I had to head back south.

In general I will say that it felt to me like the atmosphere at the Blade Show was a bit forced this year. It was apparent that the crowd was thinner at least while I was there. The die hards were still there but I can't help feeling that the economy is having an effect. I hope this is a trend that is reversed next year.

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Glen A Cleeton

Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,968

PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 3:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks a bunch for these highlights and overview Russ. I had not seen any discussion on the sword boards aside from some mentioning not bothering with going anymore. Had I been headed that way, one fellow comes to mind that might have made an impression. I don't know if he did indeed make it but was planning on a table.

This is yet another Chen but a small shop turning out some great looking work.

I am delighted to see Vince was in attendance and it looks like they have been busy since the return t the islands. I am fascinated to see that he is making some tail locks. At the time I bought my folder from the old paper Cutting Edge catalog, there were also a small handful of Vince's taililocks for sale on the cheap. This pair shown easy to place the work to him. When I had asked him about my folder in 2002, he was able to identify it to the day of completion and at that point had done over 1300 fixed blade knifes and swords, along with 84 folders. Soon after my example (evidently a batch for one collector's gifting) of 1995 was born, the Wayne Valachovic style tail-locks drew his attentions.

Hanwei/CAS seem to have become a bit of a Meglo-Mart but with just about all genre and price points represented.

I think many have been affected by the overall economy.


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